The iPhone 11 continues to be a reliable smartphone in 2022. But is it a smartphone that supports 5G networks? Here’s everything you need to know.
5G is a huge talking point for carriers and smartphone makers in 2022, leading many iPhone 11 owners to wonder if their Apple the handset works with 5G. Not so long ago, 5G was just a pipe dream for businesses. 5G has been touted and promoted for years as the next big thing in wireless, but it’s only recently matured enough to actually be useful to people. All major carriers in the US now have growing 5G networks, most smartphones sold today can connect to 5G, and things are only getting better.
But that’s not to say 5G isn’t still confusing. 5G is currently split into three different tiers. There are sub-6 5G, mmWave 5G and C-band 5G. Each level has its own speed and coverage levels. Depending on the smartphone you have, you may be able to use all (or only some) of them. And the naming of some smartphones does not help. With phones marketed as “OnePlus 10 Pro 5G” and “Motorola Edge+ 5G UW”, understanding which 5G bands are and aren’t supported on your device is far from simple.
For its part, the iPhone 11 remains a capable smartphone in 2022. Its 6.1-inch LCD screen is superb, the A13 Bionic processor is still very powerful and it runs the latest version of iOS 15. Whether you had the iPhone 11 since release or just bought it recently, it’s a solid, versatile handset these days – assuming you don’t care about 5G. This is because the iPhone 11 does not have 5G connectivity. It does not work with sub-6, mmWave or C-band networks. Data speeds on the iPhone 11 are very good thanks to its “gigabit-class” 4G LTE bands, but 5G is nowhere on the phone.
All iPhones that have 5G
If you want an iPhone that supports 5G, the cheapest option available today is the iPhone SE 3. The $429 starting price is tempting, but keep in mind that the SE 3 connects primarily to sub-6 5G networks. Sub-6 5G has the best coverage of all 5G bands, but it comes at the expense of a less dramatic speed upgrade. Sub-6 5G is generally faster than 4G LTE, but often not by much. The iPhone SE 3 also connects to 5G C-band on Verizon and AT&T, but only if you have one of those two carriers and live in a market where it’s supported. Someone who wants the full 5G experience will need to get an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 (or one of their respective “mini” or “Pro” versions). Every iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 has sub-6, C-band, and mmWave 5G connectivity.
Is the absence of 5G on the iPhone 11 a deciding factor? For most people, the answer is probably “no”. While 5G is the latest generation of mobile data, 4G LTE isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s still blazing fast, fully supported by all carriers, and offers unparalleled coverage against growing 5G networks. It’s not a bad idea to make sure your next Apple phone has 5G, but there’s no reason to throw away your iPhone 11 just because it doesn’t.
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